Back in Balance Family Chiropractic

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

By: Adam Renelt, DC

Updated 3/4/2024

A common condition that is seen in our chiropractic office is called iliotibial band syndrome.  Problems with the iliotibial band, or IT band, are a common cause of both knee and hip pain.  IT band syndrome is also called “runner’s knee,” and is frequently seen in active people that run or cycle on a regular basis.  The IT band is a piece of connective tissue that runs from the hip down to the lateral (outer) thigh. The IT band then connects just below the outer knee.  IT band syndrome is one of the most common causes of pain on the outer aspect of the knee. 

Causes and Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

IT band syndrome is typically an overuse injury and not as a result of a trauma to the knee or hip.  Often the patient will have weaker muscles in the hip or gluteal (buttocks) area. This causes the band to get irritated and inflamed.  This inflammation results in pain that may be located in the knee, thigh or the hip. It may be a dull pain but also may be quite sharp.  Sometimes patients will feel well for the first part of their run (or cycling activity) but after a mile or two of running the pain will worsen. The pain may be severe enough for them to have to stop their run.  Rest may provide temporary relief but usually will not fully resolve the problem.  Sometimes the pain can be very intense and feel like there is a structural problem inside the knee joint itself. Other times, the pain can be more of milder pain that is more of an annoyance than a debilitating pain.

At-Home Exercises May Help

Using a foam roller may help loosen tight muscles and may help relieve Iliotibial band syndrome.
A foam roller is a great tool that may help relieve iliotibial band symptoms.

If a patient presents to our office with knee or hip pain one of our chiropractors will do an evaluation of the knee, hip and lower back to determine what the cause of the symptoms is.  If it is determined to be a case of IT band syndrome we may perform chiropractic adjustments to the spine, hip, knee or even the feet.  Muscle work via pressure points, stretching, and at home exercises are often recommended.  The following are some of the most common exercises that we may recommend:

  1. Hip abduction:  This is performed by laying on your side and slowly raising the thigh and leg that are on the high side.  After reaching as high as you can, slowly lower the leg back down until it is back in the starting position (neutral).  This is one repetition.  Performing 10 repetitions on each leg for 3 sets is recommended. 
  2. Gluteal stretches:  Lay on your back with your feet together on the floor with knees bent and raised up.  Then, cross one leg over the other and pull the legs towards the chest until you feel a stretch.  Once you feel the stretch, hold it for about 15 seconds. Then, repeat the stretch with the opposite leg crossed.
  3. Foam rolling: Purchase a foam roller and spend several minutes per day using your body weight to roll on your outer thigh. Change the angle of your body to reach the different aspects (front, middle and back) of the IT band. This may be quite painful initially but within 2 weeks the discomfort is usually lessened.

Contact Us Today for Your Appointment

If you live in the Sioux Falls area and think you may have IT band syndrome, please contact our office.  One of our chiropractors will meet with you and perform an exam. They will then give you a recommendation of care based on the exam findings.  Along with the above exercises, recommendations may be given on footwear, posture or other factors that may play a role in your symptoms. We would welcome the opportunity to try to help you improve your symptoms through chiropractic care!

Adam Renelt, DC is the founder of Back in Balance Chiropractic. Dr. Adam grew up on a farm in South Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 2004. In 2007 he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic with his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and started his career in private practice. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and son.  In his free time he enjoys reading and being outdoors, mountain biking and hiking.

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